April 13, 2011

Pre TEDxMonterey

Last month, I posted about an opportunity I had to audition/compete to speak at TEDxMonterey. I was successful in my efforts!

And the past month has been kind of insane. Preparing to speak at TEDx is no small task. It's still insane which is why I'm going to cheat and bullet point lots of this post rather than write it out. Because I have a paper due before Friday, but I also want to share my process with you.

Reasons why it's hard:
*I esteem TED and want to make my performance TED-worthy.
*I've never done that before, so how do I know if I'm doing it?
*I've never performed AND presented at the same time before (right brain + left brain).
*Since lecturing while contorting proved to be virtually impossible (mic falling off, being winded with exertion or inversion, trying to advance slides at the same time, and remembering my story), I decided to pre-record my voice and slides. I'm not a professional recorder, speaker, or movie maker, but I want this to be awesome. I devoted tons of effort/time into recording, re-recording, editing, etc. Still, there are only so many hours in a day, and I'm going to school full time and have a job. So even though I want this to be perfect, I know it's not. This is really reallydifficult for me to swallow because I only have one chance at this. Every not-perfect miniscule thing in the 'movie' makes my nerves crazy.
*I have never been so nervous for a performance in my life. It's been a month, and every time I think about it, my heart goes into my throat. I'm not nervous about performing, persay, I'm nervous about all the things I can't control. Like, will the videographer do a decent job? Because that video is going to be on the TED archive for ever. What will the lighting be like? And also about the aforesaid miniscule nitpicky tiny things in the 'movie' that I hope to jeebus don't detract from the overall presentation/impression.
*I'm a performer more than a lecturer, so I feel like a diva amongst the other speakers *hangs head, feels shame.* I want everything to go well, but I think all my performer-type questions to the organizers come across as annoying. I requested an extra rehearsal to make sure things would go alright, so I could check my costume, the lighting, the technical aspects, and it was a failure. We ended up having to jury-rig the 'movie,' so I could at least practice on the stage, but the lighting, sound, etc was nothing like it will be for the actual presentation....so my worries have not been allayed.
*I wanted to use a new costume, but it doesn't show up well on the stage...so I have to use an old costume which is disappointing, and I fear that it will seem tired to those who are familiar with my contortion.
*I fear that my performance fans will think this story intellectualizes an experience too much.
*I fear that my colleagues/teachers/future employers will brush me off as too quirky or creative to be scholarly.
*I fear that it will sound like I'm reading, or conversely, like I'm too informal in my speech.
*I fear that no one will be able to relate.
*I fear that no one will be able to relate.
*I fear that no one will be able to relate. (yeah. that's a big one.)

Why I'm doing it anyway:
*I esteem TED and am humbled and excited at the opportunity to present at this event. This means a lot to me.
*I feel like this is a way to thank the many TED lecturers who have been vulnerable and presented their stories and have inspired me.
*I have never integrated my left and right brain in one project like this, and I'm really stoked to do it for something so meaningful for me.
*I feel like I'm in a new stage of life, where things don't go wrong all the time, and in fact a lot goes really really well. If I succeed at presenting at TEDx, I will have yet another reason to believe this.
*I like telling stories.
*I am happy to be vulnerable if it helps other people open up and be honest with themselves too. I know TED talks have a great potential for this. I don't know if mine will ever be watched by anyone who doesn't know me already, but I'm willing to give it a shot.
*I have learned that putting yourself right up against challenge/failure means you will either come out more victorious than you thought possible, or learn what your boundaries are so you can recalculate and redirect your efforts in the future. Possibility of failure is no reason to back down, if the possibility of success means enough to you.

And, so...
Friday April 15th, around 2:45 PST (5:45 EST), I will be on stage, giving this thing a go.
I've prepared, I'm still preparing, and we'll just have to see how it goes.

It will be livestreamed here, translated into several languages even, and archived at some point in the future.

I hope you can watch.


1 comment:

Tiffanie said...

GOOO ALYSSUM!!!!!!!!!!
i'm SO proud of you already for taking this on. your performance/presentation will be icing on my cake.

lately (as i STILL attempt to make apologies for ME to others), i have been reminded of something a wise friend said years ago, "by being your truth, you provide others an opportunity to learn and grow themselves." i don't know if that feels relevant to you, but i wanted to share it.
you already win by trying. but you know that already.